Diabetes Ignorance 101


A good friend of mine, who has type-1 diabetes, recently posted this picture on her facebook wall. Of course I just sort of shook my head in response that someone would then post the below comment to it on facebook. The people who are educated about diabetes can’t believe the level of people’s ignorance. People who haven’t been “properly” educated about the disease do ask these types of questions and/or make ignorant comments to people living with type-1 and type-2 diabetes. I can only speak from personal experience in the arena of type-1.

Most people who read my blog are pretty familiar that there is a difference between type-1 and type-2, but if people aren’t I would like to share the quick differences. I took the quoted information straight from the American Diabetes Association’s website diabetes.org.

“Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), or simply, diabetes, is a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from defects in the body’s ability to produce and/or use insulin.

Type – 1  diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. Only 5% of people with diabetes have this form of the disease. 

Type- 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Millions of Americans have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and many more are unaware they are at high risk. Some groups have a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes than others. Type 2 diabetes is more common in African AmericansLatinos,Native Americans, and Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, as well as the aged population.

In type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy. When you eat food, the body breaks down all of the sugars and starches into glucose, which is the basic fuel for the cells in the body. Insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can lead to diabetes complications.”

Just because I’m well versed in diabetes knowledge, I do not believe that I have that same knowledge for other conditions (far from it!). My cousin has down syndrome, and because I know of people putting stereotypes on diabetes that have hurt me in the past, I ask questions if I’m not sure instead of make statements to my aunt, uncle, or cousins. To me the learning lesson in all of this is showing compassion to people. The truth is, for the most part, we don’t know what someone else has had to walk through. And let’s be clear, I’m no angel. I have had several days in my life were someone has said something very rude and ignorant to me and without even thinking I give a snarky response back. In my clear mind I know that instead of getting worked up, I need to channel that energy in helping educate that person about the truths of diabetes. Will you join me in telling, writing, whatever creative avenue that you have….to tell YOUR DIABETES STORY!?! This is what will help change the perception of this disease.

STOP Diabetes Gala 2013!

This day is like a second version of Christmas to me…diabetes style! 🙂 The American Diabetes Association (ADA) puts on a lot of

Mud mask time with my friend Liz & cousin Katelyn

Mud mask time with my friend Liz & cousin Katelyn

incredible fundraising events across the country every year. The STOP Diabetes Gala for the MN ADA holds theres at Treasure Island, just south of St. Paul, MN. Like I told my friends…it’s our version of an adult prom!

We started our day with pampering for the gals in the “girls only” designated room…mud masks and all! The guys were locked in the other room watching the Kentucky Derby. 🙂 We had a wonderful group who all chipped in and bought a table together. It was fun getting to

Former Exec. Director of MN ADA, Jenni Hargraves...seeing her was a highlight for me!

Former Exec. Director of MN ADA, Jenni Hargraves…seeing her was a highlight for me!

see so many people who I consider a 2nd family to me. I’ve sort of grown up with the association by starting out as a volunteer at the age of 10 so the gala is a wonderful reunion.

The dinner was wonderful (the dessert was my favorite…red velvet cake)…my best friend Kate and I even did a cheers with our forks! The night was inspiring by all accounts. The ADA did a wonderful job in showing everyone the ADA’s mission as well as giving out awards to very deserving people and organizations who have dedicated themselves to helping in the fight. An unexpected moment happened when my good friend Emily Stunek got up to speak. I knew she was speaking about her involvement with the association…but that was about it. She shared her story of being a junior high kid and a high school kid coming into the junior high and speaking about her ADA volunteer experience and how that forever changed her life. And that high school student happened to be me. Sometimes I can get very

Emily (left) speaking at the gala

Emily (left) speaking at the gala

frustrated with myself thinking I haven’t worked hard enough or raised enough money for diabetes….but Emily’s speech brought me back to why I devoted my life to this cause…by wanting to help other young women see that there is life after diabetes….and a wonderful, fulfilled life at that. Thank you Emily for that sweet reminder.

All in all the event raised over $150,000! If you didn’t have an opportunity to support Camp Needlepoint and Camp Daypoint during the financial appeal at the gala you can still do so by making a donation at http://main.diabetes.org/site/Calendar?id=34701&view=Detail   All donations to support Camp Needlepoint and Camp Daypoint are 100% tax deductable.

You all better join me at the 2014 Gala! 🙂 photo[11]

Special thanks to Kate & Matt Penz, Shannon & Katelyn Reabe, Rob Andree, Charlie Young, Liz Neaton & Joel, Emily & Jake Stunek, & Jeanette Sterner for such a wonderful night!